40 CFR § 230.91 - Purpose and general considerations.

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§ 230.91 Purpose and general considerations.

(a) Purpose.

(1) The purpose of this subpart is to establish standards and criteria for the use of all types of compensatory mitigation, including on-site and off-site permittee-responsible mitigation, mitigation banks, and in-lieu fee mitigation to offset unavoidable impacts to waters of the United States authorized through the issuance of permits by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) pursuant to section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344). This subpart implements section 314(b) of the 2004 National Defense Authorization Act (Pub. L. 108-136), which directs that the standards and criteria shall, to the maximum extent practicable, maximize available credits and opportunities for mitigation, provide for regional variations in wetland conditions, functions, and values, and apply equivalent standards and criteria to each type of compensatory mitigation. This subpart is intended to further clarify mitigation requirements established under the Corps and EPA regulations at 33 CFR part 320 and this part, respectively.

(2) This subpart has been jointly developed by the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers, and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. From time to time guidance on interpreting and implementing this subpart may be prepared jointly by EPA and the Corps at the national or regional level. No modifications to the basic application, meaning, or intent of this subpart will be made without further joint rulemaking by the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 551 et seq.).

(b) Applicability. This subpart does not alter the circumstances under which compensatory mitigation is required or the definition of “waters of the United States,” which is provided at § 230.3(s). Use of resources as compensatory mitigation that are not otherwise subject to regulation under section 404 of the Clean Water Act does not in and of itself make them subject to such regulation.

(c) Sequencing.

(1) Nothing in this section affects the requirement that all DA permits subject to section 404 of the Clean Water Act comply with applicable provisions of this part.

(2) Pursuant to these requirements, the district engineer will issue an individual section 404 permit only upon a determination that the proposed discharge complies with applicable provisions of 40 CFR part 230, including those which require the permit applicant to take all appropriate and practicable steps to avoid and minimize adverse impacts to waters of the United States. Practicable means available and capable of being done after taking into consideration cost, existing technology, and logistics in light of overall project purposes. Compensatory mitigation for unavoidable impacts may be required to ensure that an activity requiring a section 404 permit complies with the Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines.

(3) Compensatory mitigation for unavoidable impacts may be required to ensure that an activity requiring a section 404 permit complies with the Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines. During the 404(b)(1) Guidelines compliance analysis, the district engineer may determine that a DA permit for the proposed activity cannot be issued because of the lack of appropriate and practicable compensatory mitigation options.

(d) Accounting for regional variations. Where appropriate, district engineers shall account for regional characteristics of aquatic resource types, functions and services when determining performance standards and monitoring requirements for compensatory mitigation projects.

(e) Relationship to other guidance documents.

(1) This subpart applies instead of the “Federal Guidance for the Establishment, Use, and Operation of Mitigation Banks,” which was issued on November 28, 1995, the “Federal Guidance on the Use of In-Lieu Fee Arrangements for Compensatory Mitigation Under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act,” which was issued on November 7, 2000, and Regulatory Guidance Letter 02-02, “Guidance on Compensatory Mitigation Projects for Aquatic Resource Impacts Under the Corps Regulatory Program Pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899” which was issued on December 24, 2002. These guidance documents are no longer to be used as compensatory mitigation policy in the Corps Regulatory Program.

(2) In addition, this subpart also applies instead of the provisions relating to the amount, type, and location of compensatory mitigation projects, including the use of preservation, in the February 6, 1990, Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Department of the Army and the Environmental Protection Agency on the Determination of Mitigation Under the Clean Water Act Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines. All other provisions of this MOA remain in effect.

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